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Artist Profile
Gregory Isaacs
Jul 15, 1950 ~ Oct 25, 2010
The ‘Cool Ruler’ ran things for much of the late 1970’s delivering fine Loverman songs and equally impressive Reality & Rasta Tunes. Today he is the great survivor who is loved for his fierce independence.
>>Featured Page
Real name:
Gregory Anthony Isaacs
Place of birth:
Jamaica
Kingston
Fletcher Land
Gregory Isaacs began as part of the Concords who recorded a handful of sides for Rupie Edwards' Success label he began to record as a solo artist in 1970 & 1971. After one track each for Prince Buster ('Dancing Floor') and for Glen Brown (the sublime 'One One Coco') Gregory set up the African Museum imprint with his brethren Errol Dunkley and delivered two great tracks in the shape of 'Look Before You Leap' and 'My Only Lover'. But by 1972 he begun doing the rounds of Kingston's studio as a voice for hire – and with Gregory you always got more than a voice. Over the next two years he voiced for Randys, Gussie Clark, Lloyd Campbell and especially Alvin 'GG' Ranglin who captured Gregory's plaintive tenor on cuts like 'Sweeter the Victory'.

1975 was the year that The Rasta faith of the Ghetto's of Kingston became the driving force in reggae and it was the year that Gregory Isaacs released a series of sublime tracks, often self-produced. Such as 'Beautiful Africa', 'Something Nice' and a brace of tunes for Niney, 'Bad Da' & 'Rock On', all served to add to his growing stature in Kingston. Even today the Horns cut of Rock On on disco 45 fetches serious money in auctions. Gregory had his own African Museum shop in Idlers Rest, and he even produced a few other ghetto artists for his label.

The following year saw his own African Museum imprint return to the fore with tracks that took Gregory to the top of the JA & UK reggae worlds. 'Rasta Business', 'Black A Kill Black', 'Warrior' and 'Extra Classic' saw Gregory as both the smooth lover and the cool brethren on the street whom no one got the best of. This dual persona won him legions of female and male fans who loved him all the more live as he could deliver both a fabulous voice and a powerful persona.

Three tunes in 1977: 'Set The Captives Free', 'Mister Cop' (cut at the Black Ark) and 'Slave Master' (for Lloyd Campbell) raised the bar as Gregory really found his groove. Gregory's music moved to the new 12" Disco 45 format with huge success from 1977 onwards when he had a string of Reggae hits with productions from Alvin 'GG' Ranglin(Alvin Ranglin), ('Chunnie You Are My Number One' & 'The Border') Lloyd Campbell ('Mr Know It All' & and Sly & Robbie ('Soon Forward' and 'Motherless Children').

It wasn't long before this degree of popularity attracted record company interest from the UK where Virgin records had begun investing in Reggae on its 'Frontline' imprint. Virgin issued JA productions from Gregory & Sly & Robbie and the albums 'Soon Forward' and 'Cool Ruler' achieved strong cross-over sales, with 'Cool Ruler' becoming Gregory's moniker, as it captured his persona so well.

Gregory then signed up with the UK 'Pre' label and issued the African Museum albums 'Lonely Lover' and 'More Gregory' which cemented his position as No1 Lover Man. In true Gregory style Disco's and singles emerged from various other links with JA producers including the fine 'Sunday Morning' with Bunny Wailer at the controls.

It was Island that then took on Gregory and worked to create a sound that would cross over and employed Paul 'Groucho' Smykle to mix down the Tuff Gong cut tracks. The keyboard playing of Wally Bardou also added to the mainstream appeal of Gregory's music. Tracks like 'Night Nurse' and 'Cool Down The Pace' became cross-over hits in London but his records old hardly at all outside the M25. Gregory's profile would never be higher: He was the cool ghetto crooner: he wore wonderfully tailored suits, elegant hats and flowing locks that had the women screaming and the guys respectful. He was a star for a new generation of British born West Indians and for a newly internationally successful JA music business.

It was once said that Gregory always remained 'resolutely feral' – meaning he was always his own man and won't be controlled by anyone, so it was no surprise when his 'rude boy' lifestyle caught up with him and he served time in Kingston's General Penitentiary on a drugs charge. His 'Out Deh!' album on Island proved to be his last with the label and once again he struck out without a major UK deal.

A pattern of voicing for any producer - with the right amount of Dollar - saw floods of Gregory Tunes hitting the market throughout the decade. He cuts tunes for Jammys, Steely & Clevie & Bobby Digital(Bobby Dixon). 1985 saw his last big, almost cross over hit, when his 'Rumours' Disco for Augustus Gussie Clarke delivered a new Hi-Tech digital sound that marked the start of a whole new direction for reggae. UK imprint Acid Jazz tried to tame Gregory and achieve cross-over status but once again it was not to be.

Isaacs would never be at the forefront again but has continued to record tunes, even as his drug problems meant his voice became rather thin and nasally – his nose was in trouble and his teeth gone. He recorded for a never ending series of producers as his close relationships with drugs took hold. Remarkably he managed to not only deliver some great vocals from time to time but also to stay alive!

He died at his London home on 25th Oct 2010. Gregory had been diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009 and continued performing until weeks before his death. He was at the age of 59.
 
Related artist(s):
Errol Dunkley
Dennis Brown
Freddie McGregor
Label Profile
Island
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Hit title(s)
CD Police & Thieves (5 Bonus Tracks) - Island US
¥2380
No Stock
CD Super Ape - Island US
¥2180
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CD Legend: Definitive Remasters - Tuff Gong US/Island
¥2480
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CD Arkology (3 CD + 52 Pages Book) - Island Jamaica UK
¥4880
No Stock
CD Harder They Come: Original Soundtrack (Remastered) - Island US
¥2380
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CD Natural Mystic: The Legend Lives On (Definitive Remasters) - Island US/Tuff Gong US
¥2380
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CD Dreams Of Freedom: Ambient Traslations In Dub - Island UK/Tuff Gong
¥2380
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CD Rockers Original Soundtrack: Definitive Remasters - Island UK
¥2280
No Stock
CD Night Nurse: Remastered - Island US
¥2480
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CD Dub Factor (Remastered, 3 Bonus Tracks) - Island UK
¥2080
No Stock
CD Where There Is Life - Island US
¥2380
No Stock
CD Til Shiloh (2 Bonus Tracks) - Island US
¥2380
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CD Africa Unite: The Singles Collection - Island US/Tuff Gong US
¥2680
No Stock
CD Songs Of Freedom (4 CD) - Island UK
¥7980
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LP Exodus - Tuff Gong
¥1580
No Stock
LP Legend - Tuff Gong
¥1880
No Stock
LP Live - Tuff Gong
¥1680
No Stock
LP Kaya - Tuff Gong
¥1580
No Stock
LP Uprising - Tuff Gong
¥1580
No Stock
LP Rastaman Vibration - Tuff Gong
¥2080
No Stock
LP Survival - Tuff Gong
¥1580
No Stock
LP Confrontation - Tuff Gong
¥1680
No Stock
LP Catch A Fire - Tuff Gong
¥1580
No Stock
LP Anthem - Island
¥1880
No Stock
LP Dub Factor - Island
¥1480
No Stock
LP Red - Island
¥1580
No Stock
LP Harder They Come: Original Soundtrack - Island
¥1480
No Stock
LP Burnin' - Tuff Gong
¥1680
No Stock
LP Natty Dread - Tuff Gong
¥1680
No Stock
LP Dreams Of Freedom: Ambient Traslations In Dub (2 LP) - Island UK
¥2280
No Stock
LP CB 200 (Ltd. Edition 180 Gram Vinyl) - Simply Vinyl UK/Island
¥2980
No Stock
LP War Ina Babylon (Ltd. Edition 180 Gram Vinyl) - Simply Vinyl UK/Island
¥2980
No Stock
LP Harder They Come: Original Soundtrack - Island UK/Universal Music
¥3080
No Stock
LP Catch A Fire: Zippo Cover - Island UK
¥4280
No Stock
LP Big Bamboo - Island Music
¥1680
No Stock
LP Music Of The Caribbean - Island Music
¥1580
No Stock
LP Reggae Greats - Island
¥1480
No Stock
vinyl 7" Harder They Come - Island
¥700
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vinyl 7" Bogle - Island Jamaica
¥570
No Stock
vinyl 7" Ninja Man Mega Mix - Island Jamaica
¥570
No Stock
vinyl 7" What We Need Is Love - Island Jamaica
¥700
No Stock
vinyl 7" I Shot The Sheriff (Picture Sleeve) - Island UK
¥1180
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vinyl 7" Slogans (Picture Sleeve) - Island UK
¥1280
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vinyl 7" Sun Is Shining (Picture Sleeve) - Island UK
¥1180
No Stock
vinyl 7" Africa Unite (Will. I. Am Remix) (Picture Sleeve) - Island UK
¥1180
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vinyl 7" Stand Up Jamrock (Picture Sleeve) - Island UK
¥1280
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>>Best seller(s)
 
Related label(s):
Mango
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Description of item
[All Items] → [CD] → [Reggae] → [Reggae 1974-1980] → [Gregory Isaacs]
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CD CD
Gregory Isaacs
Night Nurse: Remastered
Island US
¥2480 (US$22.37)
Rating: 123
Genre: Reggae
Sub Genre: Reggae 1974-1980
Produced by: Gregory Isaacs, Flabba Holt
Approx. year: 1982
Date added: Dec 3, 2003
Date re-stocked: Nov 1, 2011
Country: USA
Catalog number: ISCD 586768
Music type: Vocal
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>>List all items by Artist: Gregory Isaacs
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12 TRACKS :
1) listen Night Nurse
2) listen Stranger In Town
3) listen Objection Overruled
4) listen Hot Stepper
5) listen Cool Down The Pace
6) listen Material Man
7) listen Not The Way
8) listen Sad To Know (You're Leaving)
9) listen Cool Down The Dub
10) listen Night Nurse Dub 2
11) listen Cool Down The Pace (10" mix)
12) listen Unhappy Departure Dub
[PRODUCTION] PRODUCED BY: Gregory Isaacs, Flabba Holt RECORDED AT: Tuff Gong MIXED BY: Godwin Logie MIXED AT: Compass Point ENGINEERED BY: Errol Brown
[MUSICIANS] BASS: Flabba DRUMS: Style LEAD GUITAR: Dwight Pinkney RHYTHM GUITAR: Bingy KEYBOARDS: Steely SYNTHESIZER: Wally Badarou
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Night Nurse (7")
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